What happens to the world after America, which, by the look of things recently, might not be that far off? Sadly, as I sat pondering what to write for the Fourth of July this year, that is the thought that kept crossing my mind.
Perhaps the best way to start answering this question is to take a look at the world before America. In 1775, the average life expectancy in the advanced nations of Europe and including the land that would become the United States, was approximately 36 years. Life in 1775 wasn’t really all that much different for many than life in the Middle Ages, more than 400 years before. Even the Renaissance didn’t dramatically change the average person’s daily life. Horses were still the main mode of transportation, their dung covered “streets” and byways. Bloodletting was still a preferred medical procedure. Anesthesia was a bottle of whiskey. Prior to Jefferson’s Declaration of Independence, slavery existed virtually everywhere on Earth.
Fast forward less than two and a half centuries and the life expectancy in the West is nearly 80 years and most families have more than one automobile unless they prefer to take the various forms of public transportation available. There are countless types of anesthesia, painkillers, and drugs that can defeat diseases and enhance and prolong life. Slavery has been eradicated except for a few Marxist states, and, ironically, African nations. Literally billions have been lifted out of poverty and desperation around the world. Nearly all the “poor” in America have smart phones, two televisions, a car, and access to the internet. Many are, unfortunately, obese.
The staggering litany of American innovations and inventions could not be properly catalogued in a large book, let alone a blog post, so suffice it to say that it has benefitted the world in ways incalculable. And America’s greatest gift to the world was—and is—freedom. The idea and the reality of it. (Natural Law is the defining aspect of this.) No matter what the left says, no matter what any of America’s detractors say around the world, there is an inescapable reason why so many fled towards American troops at the end of World War II in Europe. There is a reason why so many millions have—unbidden—risked their lives to come to the United States over the course of many decades.
If the United States and its founding ideals are essentially “overthrown” by radicals, if it becomes just another garden-variety Marxist state, it will be a grave loss for the world in general. If the primary driver of innovation and the world economy, the most generous nation in history, and the historic guarantor of so many people’s freedom passes into history, no one will be better off.
If the “shining city on a hill” shines no more, everything around it grows darker, too.
We are indeed at a tipping point. Lincoln’s message to Congress on December 1st, 1861, is just as true today: “We shall nobly save, or meanly lose, the last best hope of earth.”